This is an infection caused by leptospira. The rat is
the principal source of infection in humans. Infection takes
place by direct contact with the urine or blood of an infected
rat, or from contaminated water, soil or vegetables.
Leptospira commonly enter through a moist skin with
cuts, or through a mucous membrane. After entering the blood stream through the skin or mucous membranes, leptospira
spread to all the patientís organs.
SYMPTOMS: The onset is usually sudden with fever, chills, headache, severe pain in the
muscles, redness of
eyes, nausea, pain in the abdomen, and vomiting.
The patient may also develop jaundice and a bleeding tendency.
After a quiet asymptomatic period of 1 to 3 days, the
child may again develop fever with symptoms suggestive of meningitis, involvement of the heart, liver damage and
Though many infected patients may not show any evidence of the disease, death can occur
in severe cases. Certain
blood tests, urine examination and an electrocardiogram help
in reaching the diagnosis.
TREATMENT: Injections of penicillin may be lifesaving. The other drug that can also be used
but it should be avoided in children below the age of 8 years.
11 February, 2013